Negotiating Repairs with the Buyer
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
After the home inspection is performed, you can expect the buyer to start negotiations relating to the results of the inspection report. Buyers typically choose between two options (or a combination of both) when approaching sellers about repairing home deficiencies:
The first option is to ask the sellers to conduct repairs prior to closing. This option is best in cases when the repairs would be required by a lender for the home to qualify for financing. It's also a good option when the task at hand is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished by any contractor, or when there are safety concerns with regards to the habitability of the house.
In the cases when buyers prefer do repairs on their own (and when it won’t interfere with the lender approving financing), buyers will likely request a reduction of the sale price or a closing cost credit to cover their future repairs.
As the property seller, you have the right to request a copy of the inspection report if you wish. Most sellers wait until they receive the buyer's request for repairs to determine whether or not they want to view the inspection report. If the request is minimal or clear and obviously needed, sellers typically will not request the inspection report. If there are extensive repair requests or if the report is needed for clarification on the condition of the home, sellers typically will want to see the inspection report. The implication of receiving the inspection report as a seller is that you would then be required to disclose the contents of the entire inspection to future buyers (if the current transaction fails).
What if the inspector is wrong? Occasionally, inspectors can be incorrect in their assessment of your property. Remember, you have the right to provide additional information to the buyer if the inspection report is incorrect; this could be previous bids from work performed at the property relating to the specific concern, or it can be new bids/evaluations obtained from licensed contractors. Your involvement in this process is very important, because your knowledge of the property and documentation related to previous repairs/upgrades could potentially save you thousands of dollars. It's worth diving into the file cabinet for that.
During our negotiations, the buyer will submit an initial request for repairs on the Buyer's Repair Addendum. You have the opportunity to accept or reject the buyer's repairs. If you'd like to present a counter offer regarding repairs and/or price adjustments, we can do so by using the Seller's Repair Addendum. We will work hard together to negotiate a reasonable compromise for all parties, and as long as we are successful in our negotiations, all parties will continue moving forward towards closing.
All negotiations must be completed within the inspection period (typically 10 business days after acceptance of the sale agreement). If an agreement between you and the buyer cannot be reached, the buyer has the option to terminate the sale by issuing a Notice of Unconditional Disapproval and would be entitled to a full refund of their earnest money.